Strange New Respect? The national edition of Sunday's
New York Times featured a favorable profile of a Bush family politician: George P. Bush (son of former Florida governor Jeb Bush) who's running for a minor state government post in Texas this fall. So what makes him worthy of a news story in the Sunday Times?
Well, here's the headline: "
On Climate, a Younger Bush’s Ideas Stray From Party Ideology." Ah, that would explain it. Reporter Neena Satija clearly approved:
On the campaign trail in Texas for a little-known statewide office, George P. Bush is
generally toeing the Republican Party line: He is attacking the federal health care overhaul, decrying abortion and championing gun rights.
But it is environmental policy that will be under his purview if, as expected, he wins his race to be the state’s next land commissioner in November. Last week, in his first in-depth interview on the topic nearly a year and a half into his campaign, the son of former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, nephew of former President George W. Bush and grandson of former President George H. W. Bush s
ounded like anything but the Tea Party conservatives with whom he has aligned himself.
For starters, the younger Mr. Bush thinks climate change is a serious threat to Texas, though he stopped short of definitively attributing a hotter and drier state to human activity.
(Satija writes for the Texas Tribune, a left-leaning non-profit journalism center. It has a partnership with the
Times, which reprints its journalism on a regular basis.)
While Mr. Bush joins his fellow conservatives in railing against the federal government, including the Environmental Protection Agency, he did not go so far as to echo many Republicans’ calls to abolish the agency -- or their blanket assertions that its recently proposed climate regulations would be a disaster for Texas. “Regardless of your politics,” Mr. Bush said, “the E.P.A. is regulating coal and ratcheting down its overall usage in our electricity grid.”
Not only are those views anathema to the coal lobby, a major backer of conservative Republicans nationwide, they are also decidedly more moderate than those of other ambitious Republicans here. Both Gov. Rick Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbott, Mr. Perry’s likely successor, have blasted the recent federal climate rules and questioned whether carbon dioxide emissions are dangerous to the public.
The agency is also involved in protecting the state’s 367-mile Gulf Coast, which has become increasingly vulnerable to sea-level rise, coastal erosion and storm surges that scientists say are all exacerbated by climate change. Noting that he was born in Houston, which is both home to Texas’ energy industry and susceptible to hurricanes and rising seas, Mr. Bush suggested that if Texas increased its spending on coastal protection, it could get more federal matching dollars.
Satija noted approvingly: "
That kind of state-federal collaboration does not sound like a Tea Party talking point." She concluded by quoting Allison DeFoor, an environmental adviser to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who was proud that George P. had "chose data over ideology."
Satija covered similar ground with the same loaded liberal slant last July in "T
exas, Leader in Greenhouse Gases, Stands Vulnerable to Their Effects," pitting "climate science" against a benighted state GOP. (As if conventional wisdom "climate science" had any grounds for respect, after 15 years of " global warming" hiatus, despite the confident computer models assuring everyone that temperatures would continue to climb.)
As Republicans promote the state’s economic “miracle,” many climate scientists from Texas say prosperity has come at a steep price.
With its dependence on an energy industry that relies on extracting fossil fuels, scientists say Texas has become a large contributor to greenhouse gas emissions as well as more vulnerable to its consequences. Texas emits more greenhouse gases than any other state, according to federal data.
Many scientists disagree, saying that Texas is missing an opportunity to be a leader in global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and that state agencies cannot continue to ignore the effects of climate change on water resources and coastal development, especially because they are already here.
“I call Texas a ‘state of denial,’ ” said John Anderson, a professor of oceanography at Rice University and a global expert on sea levels. “And that denial is becoming less tolerable as time goes along.” He said that the rate of sea-level rise on the Gulf Coast was six times higher today than it was a century ago and would only continue to increase, but that state officials were not planning for such a scenario.
Texas leaders have not always been so resistant to climate science. More than 20 years ago, lawmakers gave the state the power to address “climatic changes, including global warming,” though the statute received little attention at the time and has never been acted on.
Satija furthered the "easy" trope of simplistic, anti-science Texas conservatives:
Texas’ economic and energy boom is likely another reason Republicans have strayed from climate science -- the state’s economy runs largely on the ability to emit significant quantities of greenhouse gases and to export fossil fuels around the world.
For Larry Soward, a former close political associate of Mr. Perry’s, the easy narrative of Texas’ ascent fueled by business-friendly conservatism was too good to pass up for Mr. Perry as he prepared to run for president.